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What to pay attention to when purchasing consumable potatoes, fresh fruit and vegetables on public market places

10/26/2011
 
Sale of consumable potatoes, fresh fruit and vegetables on the public market places in the time of freezing is neither forbidden by applicable legislation nor there are limits set as regards temperatures at which these products must not be sold. However, general conditions has to be met, namely products must not be damaged by low temperatures or by frost. If this condition is not kept, the products must not be placed on the market as they are irreversibly and permanently damaged. It is thus up to the entrepreneurs to ensure conditions of sale which sufficiently protect their products.

Negative impact of frosts on fruit, vegetables and potatoes – what to pay attention to during purchase

Fruit and vegetables

In the winter time there is a higher demand after foodstuffs with higher natural content of vitamins and therefore appropriate attention should be paid to the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables. Apart from deficiencies which appear during the whole year (such as fruit and vegetables with mould and rot; dirty, not fresh, shrivelled products affected by pests, etc.), also damage caused by freezing could occur due to low outside temperatures.
Damage caused by freezing does not have to be recognizable by laics during the purchase. Defects of the products with such damage can be visible only at home when the temperatures of the foodstuffs and the ambient environment get equalized. The consistency of products is mostly modified, typical coloration disappear as well as the taste is changed. Plant tissues are completely damaged by the effect of frost and undesirable sensory, quality and microbiological changes (rotting processes) occur. Disappointment and unpalatable products ended up in a waste bin are thus the results of such “bargain”.

Potatoes

Even the sale of potatoes has its rules. In winter consumers are offered late consumable potatoes, both washed and unwashed.
The most significant deficiencies as regards late consumable potatoes are occurrence of rot, grey and black stains in the flesh, mechanical squashing, overall scabbiness and occurrence of sprouts, while Decree of the MA No. 157/2003 Coll., as amended allows only potatoes with sprouts not longer than 3mm.
The temperatures of storage and sale should not be lower than +2 °C otherwise potatoes become sweet. This effect is caused by destruction of starch and accumulation of sugar. If potatoes are exposed to temperatures below 0 °C, even during a short time, they get frosted and pursuant to the Decree, they cannot be offered for sale. Frozen potatoes are getting wet after fast warming (in a palm of hand) during few minutes and the pulp under the skin puts up lower resistance.
Article by: Employees of the CAFIA Inspectorate in Ustí nad Labem